MSMS Students Kick Butt at Zombie Themed Day of Activism


Gina Nguyen

Students protest tobacco use on the streets outside of the Columbus/Lowndes County Boys and Girls Club.

Davan Reece , Staff Writer

On Wednesday, students from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science attended the annual Kick Butts Day event at the Columbus Boys and Girls Club.

Hosted by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is a national event aimed at inspiring the youth to turn away from tobacco products. This year, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids mobilized students against e-cigarettes, specifically companies such as Juul. For the local Kick Butts Day, students were asked to dawn their undead attire and dress up as zombies.

“Kick Butts Day was a really fun event for a really great cause,” said junior Linda Arnoldus. “We really just yelled at cars about the dangers of smoking. I think that a lot of young people get drawn into e-cigarettes and vaping because they think that it is harmless but it’s really not.”

Junior Gina Nguyen also attended the undead rally. “It was a really good experience,” Nguyen said. “Vaping and tobacco use are very important to our generation. There are no long term studies into the effects of vaping, and it’s important for students to realize that. Additionally, nicotine use has been linked with depression and other problems. In today’s climate, students are already at risk from outside forces trying to harm us, there is no point in putting ourselves in further harm that is caused by ourselves.”

“Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to turn away from Big Tobacco, specifically the usage of nicotine and tobacco-related products,” said Chairman of the Lowndes-Clay-Oktibbeha County Tobacco Free Coalition and MSMS senior Devin Chen.

Chen, along with other MSMS students and event organizers such as Lilian Le and Likhitha Polepalli, wanted to help students become aware of the ploys from Big Tobacco. “They typically target youth,” Chen said. “Youths are the most vulnerable group. They are more likely to use tobacco between the ages of 15 and 18, and if they use those products then they are ten times more likely to use them at an older age.”

“The event was sponsored by the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition,” Chen said. “Our coalition of Lowndes-Clay-Oktibbeha came up with the zombie theme because tobacco and nicotine products essentially make you into a zombie.”

With vaping becoming a national epidemic in high schools across America, Chen had a few words to say about the trend. “Vaping is so misunderstood in our age group,” Chen said. “I advise people to look into what you are putting into their bodies. E-cigarette pods have as much nicotine as cigarettes, so it is definitely potent and particularly with the different flavors that they have such as tropical fruit blast and fruit medley make it much more potent and potentially deadly. It’s not worth it.”